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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Intelligent design gives great deal of trouble to philosopher Mary Midgley

Over at Access Research Network, British physicist David Tyler comments on British philosopher Mary Midgley's recent worry over intelligent design:
At the end of her essay, Midgley writes: "Unless something like this can be done, it seems to me that ID is going to give us a great deal of trouble." She asks for people to seek out better ways of interacting on these issues. As a first step, I would advise that we recognise that there is a real struggle concerning the the nature of science. It is not the tired old battle of 'science versus religion'. The new concern is whether science is open to truth, wherever it leads or whether science should insist that every effect must have a natural cause. The contrast today is between the integration of all knowledge and the perpetual compartmentalisation of cognitive activity. ID is not the troubler of science! That dubious honour belongs to the advocates of philosophical materialism who have usurped science as a tool to further their own agendas.

Midgley seems to have bought into the guff first popularized by Stephen Jay Gould that science and religion are "non-overlapping magisteria" (= non-overlapping spheres of influence, acronym NOMA). But it takes no very great amount of digging to discover that in reality is it materialism and spirituality that are the "non-overlapping magisteria". And spirituality is always expected to surrender to materialism whatever materialism claims, no matter how ridiculous the materialist's assertions are. It is a shame that a woman who has been a good philosopher would fall on this all-too-familiar asses' bridge for faith-and-science bores. But maybe she'll get the picture later.

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